Thunder Bay woman spots rare antlered doe in her backyard

doe with wintlers

It’s not unusual for Janice Whybourne to find wildlife wandering around the apple trees in her backyard. It was unexpected, however, when a female deer sporting a pair of antlers showed up.

The Thunder Bay-resident first spotted the rare doe and her fawns eating apples from the trees in early August. At first, she didn’t notice anything different about the deer.

“We always have deer coming and going,” she told CBC News.

Her husband was the one who pointed out its “horns.” It wasn’t until Whybourne downloaded and zoomed into the pictures she’d taken that she noticed them too. Despite the small set of antlers, Whybourne is confident it’s a doe.

“I can’t see a male with a couple of fawns,” she said.

Photo by Janice Whybourne

According to Kenora-based biologist Bruce Ranata, antlered does do exist, but they’re certainly not common. Of the hundreds of deer he’s examined in northwestern Ontario, he’s only seen one.

On the rare occasion that a female deer does have antlers, they’re usually short spikes that remain in velvet, which means they don’t harden off.

Whybourne hasn’t spotted the antlered doe and her fawns lately, but the trail camera in her backyard indicates that they have been showing up for a late-night snack.